The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Jet Age: Entrepreneurship Lessons From The Sky

A drama-driven revolution, or what Sillicon Valley can learn from 1950s test pilots.

If you’ve ever seen Louis C.K.’s now-iconic Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy bit (which you absolutely should), you know not to take air travel for granted. And yet we still do. (For some meta-ironic full disclosure, we’re writing this from aboard Virgin America.) But a new book by New York Times correspondent Sam Howe Verhovek, released for the 50th anniversary of the Jet Age, pulls us back from our modern aero-complacency and reintroduces mystery, exhilaration and fascination into the world of human flight.

Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World is as much a design and engineering epic as it is a timeless manifesto for entrepreneurship and risktaking.

Though it explores the rich and turbulent history of commercial air travel as a force of globalization, Jet Age is not a history book per se. Rather, it’s part adventure story, part detective book, in which the technological marvels of the era are but a mere vehicle for the electrifying human spirit that underlies them, from the remarkable engineers to the brilliant businessmen to the fearless test pilots.

It is also a David and Goliath story we all love to hear, the one about the nimble little guy, in this case Boeing, taking a big gamble to eventually defeat the slow-moving behemoth.

The insight and inspiration in that story make it required reading for any modern entrepreneur struggling to break through with nothing but passion, character and — never to be understimated — the right team. Jet Age is a powerful reminder that it can be, and has been, done.

Published October 14, 2010




Filed Under

View Full Site

The Marginalian participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from any link on here, I receive a small percentage of its price, which goes straight back into my own colossal biblioexpenses. Privacy policy. (TLDR: You're safe — there are no nefarious "third parties" lurking on my watch or shedding crumbs of the "cookies" the rest of the internet uses.)